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Mar 28, 2009 03:59 PM

Women's Final 4 - Looking for 4 days of great food in St Louis

Looking for great food in St Louis. Everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner. Looking for local spots that should not be missed. Have a car, so we can drive to the burbs, if necessary.

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  1. 4 days in St. Louis . You can find these places on the web. I'm assuming you are staying downtown or Clayton.

    For breakfast:

    Kaldi's Coffehouse in Clayton.
    Hyatt Hotel, Union Station (go for the architecture: breakfast in grand style)
    Uncle Bills Pancake House (the South Grand location)
    Mokabee's, Grand and Arsenal or South City Diner (South Grand Area)
    (me, I would grab a coffee and bagel and save up for lunch)

    For lunch:
    Pappy's Smokehouse
    Anthony's Bar (I like the hip early 70's ambience and the food is quite good - get there at 11:30 or you won't find a seat)
    La Vallessana, Cherokee at California (the place is a humble taqueria. Go if it's nice weather, this is outdoor dining - get their Torta's: I just love this place)

    For dinner:
    Niche (celebrate here if your team wins!)
    Fritanga (simple Nicaraguan place, a personal favorite of mine)
    Iron Barley
    Trattoria Marcella ( some of the best Italian anywhere)

    Also, consider these places for local flavor:
    Ted Drewes for desert (get the concretes - it's not a real visit to St. Louis unless you stop here at least once)
    Carondelet Bakery for some gooey butter cake
    Milo's on the hill for some toasted ravioli
    Any Chinese carry out place for a St. Paul (haven't had one in years, not since college, so I'm out of luck recommending somewhere but maybe someone else can)
    Eat Rite Diner for greasy diner burgers (I love this place because I love the building)
    Bahn Mi So for Vietnamese
    Tony's for uber-rich Italian (THE place St. Louisan's have dined for very special occasions since forever)
    Annie Gunn's in Chesterfield for steaks (so good but a bit of a drive)
    Crown Candy Kitchen for a malt (tastey!!! a good lunch place also)

    When you are done eating at these places, know that there's an awesome jogging trail circling Forest Park (such a beautiful place). You will need the work out to burn off the calories. Have fun!

    5 Replies
      1. re: inbiz

        Fritanga is a couple of blocks south of Highway 44 on Jefferson, on the east side of the street. Parking on the street in front of the place. Only seats about 25 people - very small.

        1. re: jberendzen

          Thanks. I stay in Lafayette Square and know exactly where that is.

      2. re: jberendzen

        Uncle Bill's is on S. Kingshighwy, isn't it? I don't recall a location on Grand.... anyway, I'd skip it unless you are starving at 3am and don't want Jack in the Box tacos. ;o)

        1. re: lrstl

          I agree. I think of Uncle Bills of more of a late night spot. Blame it on my college years I guess.

      3. Do you like to try local specialties? Ethnic foods? Splurge or bang for the buck?

        6 Replies
        1. re: wekick

          Since we will be in St Louis for 4 days, we would like to try local specialties and ethnic foods.

          1. re: foodieinraleigh

            Sadly, the last two times we've eaten at Uncle Bill's it has been pretty bad. We were there before 9:30 am and the food tasted like it had been sitting for quite awhile. Heck, the Courtesy on Hampton was far superior.

            1. re: foodieinraleigh

              Given this information:
              Rooster (downtown crepery) w/ coupons available on
              Courtesy (Hampton) for a slinger
              Chris' Pancake House (Watson)
              Donut Drive-in (Watson) for some tasty donuts

              Crown Candy Kitchen (1401 St. Louis Ave in North St. Louis) Get a chili tamale and a chocolate malt...or try a BLT. If they have chicken salad, it's worth the calories. Don't skip the Crown Newport for dessert!
              Gus' Pretzels for a pretzel wrapped bratwurst or salsiccia.

              casual: Syberg's (downtown or on Gravois) get wings, shark chunks and a st. louis style pizza. (not crowd favorites on this board, but we love it all in this house!)
              more Upscale? 1111 Mississippi or Sydney Street Cafe

              This doesn't cover all your meals but it gets you started...

              1. re: lrstl

                Don't skip on dessert at Crown Candy? The malt is the dessert! Or, maybe the malt is the meal and the BLT is the dessert. ;-)

                A word of warning... last time I got shark chunks at Sybergs they were really dry. Also, the wings have a mustardy sauce, so steer clear of them if you don't like mustard.

              2. re: foodieinraleigh

                I asked if you are interested in the local cuisine because, when I travel, part of the experience is to seek out the local "do" on a particular food or food that is unique to a particular area. Not everyone is looking for that. If you read other STL threads there are those who immediately compare the local fare to what they are used to "back home" and are disappointed. Thankfully there are regional differences still and we have not been totally homogenized.

                Toasted ravioli- RavioIi breaded and deep fried served with a tomato based dipping sauce. I would seek out the home made version. The best have tender crisp outside and tasty filling inside. Trattoria Marcella does have them and is really good otherwise as mentioned earlier on this thread.
                St. Louis pizza has a very thin crispy home made crust with some almost burnt parts on the bottom. Some have a little extra flour on the bottom. They often in a rectangular pan, which further identifies them as a north county pizza. They are topped with a tomato sauce that varies from place to place, some are sweet and some are not. I like bacon or home made sausage on mine. They are then topped with provel cheeze.
       Although most St. Louisans like it some do not. You can almost always ask for mozzarella if you like. Salads may have this cheese in "ropes" on it. The local chain for these pizzas is Imo's, but the pizza there is subject to the cook or how well run each restaurant is. I would recommend one of the mom and pop places. There are tons of them, usually close to home, so everyone has their favorite. Mine are Fratelli's(St. Charles) and Nick and Elena's. These are rectangular!

                Another interesting place is Crown Candy as mentioned above.
       It is best for lunch. I love the banana chocolate malt and a BLT. Right now is a great time to go because they are making Easter candy. They have a big collection of chocolate molds and make all kinds of old fashioned chocolate bunnies. Saturdays would be hectic I would imagine.

                Other random places with well prepared food.

                Nadoz serves breakfast

                Stellina Pasta Cafe

                Michael's 7101 Manchester Ave--neighborhood bar with Greek food. I love the Greek salad.

                Niche, Monarch, Sidney Street Cafe, Harvest--special occasion--You would need reservations in advance

                Jackson's on Manchester for casual steaks.

                For BBQ-I would agree with Pappy's
                but also like 17th Street Grill
                The real deal for St. Louis BBQ would be a pork steak but I cannot give you a reliable source for this, as they are primarily cooked in St. Louis back yards.

                For a St. Paul sandwich-Canton Express across from shop n save in Harvester or Bek Hee on Page. Most of the ones that I have had were in areas that I would hesitate to send you if you are unfamiliar, except these.

                ethnic on south Grand Bahn Mi So#1 Sandwich-and
       are some of my favorites

                other ethnic
                lunch buffet @ Everest Cafe
                Apollonia-Mediterranean House on Gravois

                Local food souvenirs:

                1. re: wekick

                  Lil' Mickey's in St. Peters has pork steaks on the menu. I haven't had one from there so I can't attest to if they do it well or not. The rest of their selections don't dissapoint. It's probably not worth the drive though unless you really want to try a pork steak.

                  Another choice for ethnic on South Grand (vietnamese in this case) is Pho Grand. The food is great, it's usually quiet and casual, and the prices are very modest.

            2. I agree with all the posts so far. One post recommends Uncle Bill's, another warns against it. I would warn you against it.

              Add to the list - not far from Union Station: The White Knight, a 1920's hygenic hamburger place. This is where Susan Sarandon worked as a waitress in the movie about the place. The movie was called White Palace.

              If you are staying near the Arch, I have always enjoyed the food at 410 Olive. It is in a renovated 1890's bank. Best part: if the restaurant area is closed, you can always eat in the bar.

              And if you like off-beat, try the Fountain On Locust. Their ice cream is wonderful and they will turn it into a martini for you.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Doug

                I don't disagree with the posts about the quality of the food at Uncle Bills (Kingshighway, not Grand, sorry). It's just that if I were in from out of town and wanted to soak up some local flavor, Uncle Bill's has that certain something - I guess I'm reacting to the cheesy architecture more than the food. Chris's is better, but if it's just about grabbing some pancakes, you might just want to consider eating at the hotel.

                Also, 410 Olive mentioned above is a really nice experience. I like the renovation of the old space and the food's pretty good.

                One more "local flavor" place - Blueberry Hill for dinner, drinks, maybe some darts: check out the memorabilia all over the bar. The food's not bad either. I like the vibe on Delmar too.

                1. re: jberendzen

                  If you go to Blueberry Hill, grab a burger. They serve some of the best burgers in St. Louis.

              2. Update on our visit so far. Pappy's for lunch on Saturday - great ribs - the dry rub was excellent, surprisingly good coleslaw - the mustard seeds was a nice touch. The ice tea didn't quite come up to par with NC sweet ice tea. But a great choice for lunch. The pork sandwich was also delicious. Beef brisket was not memorable. Stick with the ribs!

                St Louis pizza at Fratellis in St Charles... Definitely worth the trip to the burbs. The toasted ravioli were a new experience. Crispy with a chewy cheese interior.

                Burgers at Culpeppers on Euclid. The burger with garlic cream cheese was incredible. The bun, hamburger and cream cheese was a great combo.

                Vietnamese at Banh Mi So on South Grand Boulevard - the Pho was right up there... only thing missing was a Vietnamese beer like 31.

                Since Carolina is in the Finals for the Mens Final 4, I need a recommendation for a sports bar that is west of Union Station. We will be having dinner first, so I am looking for great local brew and wide screen tv's. Thoughts?

                Thanks for the recommendation - so far.

                3 Replies
                1. re: foodieinraleigh

                  There is a microbrewery close to Pappys, Buffalo Brewing Company. However, I don't know if they have TV's or not.


                  1. re: foodieinraleigh

                    Final Update: Thanks for all the great recommendations. We really enjoyed our trip to St Louis... The food was terrific... it was inevitable that U Conn was going to win. We had breakfast at Chris' Pancake house and at Roosters. I think Roosters was the better of the two, but the pancakes were great at Chris'. Great Italian at Charlie Gittos on the Hill. Great eclectic food at 1111 Mississippi.